Metropole Heritage Day Tour & Lunch
|This smart fellow|
looks over the Lynch Suite
“The hotel was dry for the early decades,” concierge John Coleman (right) told our group as he took us on a Heritage Day tour of the Metropole Hotel, founded 122 years ago by the Musgrave family. The hotel quickly became known as The Met and the name endures. Guests around the turn of the century were mainly travelling salesmen.
What you may not have known, or may not remember, is that the ground floor of the building was given over to retail, with two shops on each side of the entrance. One of those, Hadji Bey, an Armenian that specialised in Turkish Delight, went on to become a Cork institution. Indeed, John told us The Met still serve the sweets, now produced in Kildare rather than in Cork, to their guests.
The Met was also a great wedding venue, capable of handling up to seven weddings a day, wedding breakfasts in those days. I remember going there in the 1960s to a triple wedding featuring three sisters from the southside.
John’s tour took us through some of the meeting rooms, all named after well-known writers. And there was a stop also at the Jack Lynch Suite to see the period detail, including an original radiator (still going strong). The current taoiseach has also stayed in this suite. Good views form the upper floors over the neighbours on MacCurtain Street. On the fourth floor we had a splendid views over the new Mary Elmes Bridge.
And John ensured we didn’t leave empty-handed as we were presented with a discounted offer on their classic afternoon tea and, after all those stairs (there was a lift too), we enjoyed their splendid homemade lemonade.
Last year, new owners (Trigon Group) spent millions on a refurbishment that included all the bedrooms, the new MET bar, restaurant and tea-room. Classy and comfortable is the result and do check out the snug too!
I had been checking the lunch menu here from time to time, thinking there was a nice bit of variety in the list and so, on Saturday, took the opportunity to try it out.
|View over MacCurtain Street|
|Meeting rooms named|
after famous writers
Just to give you an idea of the variety on offer, we could have had a Calamari Salad, a Classic Chicken Caesar Salad, a smoked Carrigaline Cheese, Fig and Onion Tart (topped with crispy egg), the Mary Elmes Beef Brisket Burger and more.
All their beef is Irish and local producers such as Carrigaline above are supported. My pick was O’Flynn’s Pork and Sage Sausages with spicy roast red pepper and chickpea stew, crusty sourdough bread.
|The new Mary Elmes Bridge|
Appropriately enough for Heritage Day I thought, as O’Flynn’s have been around long enough now to be considered part of the food heritage in these parts, a very enjoyable part indeed as Saturday’s lunch proved once again.
The Sticky Pulled Pork Sandwich with onions, toasted sourdough, fries, and a spicy slaw was CL’s choice and it too was excellent, full of flavour and the fries (which may not have been mentioned on the menu) were superb (I did steal a few).
Washed it all down with a glass of Murphy’s Stout, getting a little practice in for the upcoming Oyster Festival that will be headquartered here in the Metropole but which will have events all over town and beyond from the 20th to the 22nd of September.
This Grand Old Dame of the Cork Victorian Quarter may well be 122 years old but she is still going strong, still able to teach the younger acts a hospitality trick or two. Well worth a visit!